Monday, January 2, 2017

Resolution

So many resolutions are being joked about and passed around like when people make decisions, nothing ever really changes. Sure people's minds can change. Things can happen to weaken that resolve. But what is resolve? What does it mean to have a resolution?

Being the true nerd that I am - I looked up definitions and tried to make sense of this anomaly. Resolution is defined as "a firm decision to do or not do something; the action of solving a problem, dispute or contentious matter." Okay so making the decision to do something can be the easy part. Sometimes sitting with friends there is that moment something is being discussed, everyone says 'Let's do it! Together!' Then everyone agrees and then...nothing happens? Why? The group resolution was strong! But the group didn't set any steps or short term goals to get there. No date was set on when to go. No training for the adventure. No one took responsibility and began preparations. Not one thought until the suggested time frame had come and gone. So does that same idea work with our personal resolutions? Probably.

In the height of my years of substance misuse and abuse I made a *strong* resolution every night to not use the next day. I still used the next day. I fell again and again. It wasn't until I met with some people experienced in recovery and what comes after making a decision or "resolution." We spent weeks together learning the importance of acting after a decision is made and challenging thoughts that are contrary to the initial decision. Also, this included learning to make plans, readjust other plans and keep a fluid mindset to the whole process. This kept me from holding onto any ideas of outcomes and accepting what happened as a result of my choices. If I didn't make the intended resolution - what happened? How did I need to readjust my plans and steps for the next day

So in terms of resolutions for the New Year - MAKE THEM. Get excited by them! Show your passions in new and exciting ways! Remember to set specific steps to help you reach what you decided to do. Make plans A-ZZZ and be okay with your plan changing along the way. Relax expectations and let each day flow as you grow. You change, why can't your plan change with you.

So moving into 2017 I am choosing to set a resolution for self-care. It will look different each and every day. There will be different destinations: health, emotional security, spiritual destinations, service, trips... Here is to a year of taking action to meet a resolution and staying fluid enough to see it through.

...I know its there

It was just about two months ago siting in therapy when we were having the typical, let's discuss everything so then we can delve into specifics. (I have to admit this process is the most anxiety producing experience for me. I pre-judge everything, censor and worry about sounding too...anything.) On this specific occasion I was sharing about some experiences of the past two years, exploring emotions that have become negatively colored and my therapist gently asks, "How's your faith?" I sat shocked at not knowing how to really respond. There was tension rising in my chest, I struggled with breathing and then there was a big release of tears. I hadn't cried in months and he sits there and just asks what was going on at that moment. All I could muster was, "I don't know but I know [the faith is] there." And we sat in that feeling of release for awhile.

I know I have written about being home from my mission as a tough time. Sometimes it has felt so hard and lonely. Other times I have spoken about this move to Utah as tough and lonely - difficult. Yes, they both have been difficult. Honestly as I sit here with some clarity on the other side of the flu and on into the New Year, I have to say I have had so many more blessings than trials this past year - 'specially these past 7.5 months. At some point I had chosen to see the darker trials and times as when Laman and Lemuel spoke of how Laban was so terrible because he could command and slay 50. I had been looking at things as Laman and Lemuel for some months that I didn't see the power of my God. I have become inspired these past few weeks by the words of Nephi reminding his brothers that God (our God) is mightier than all the Earth. Now as I sit here and look back on the past year I'd like to acknowledge the blessings of a wonderful God that have come because of His Son, Jesus Christ.

January of 2016 - meeting and getting to be companions with a wonderful Sister Condie. Meeting such amazing people in the Hidden Valley and YSA 2nd wards in Tucson, AZ. Getting to work with wonderful people who helped my faith grow so much.
February 2016 - seeing a RM who I respect so much return to Tucson to baptize someone he taught. Having sacred evenings with members and people I was blessed to meet. And then in those sacred moments - feeling the love of MY Savior for them "even unto the consuming of my flesh." The opportunity then came to feel His love for me and that was more than my soul could handle! I burst with joy each time I think about it. :) Returning home to two wonderfully and supportive Parents and a ward that I didn't know who took the time to get to know me.
March 2016 - spending time in Oklahoma with my Sister's family. A trip to Utah for some interviews and seeing friends who had become family. Feeling peace. God's hand was in that whole trip.
April 2016 - surgery to help with the pain I had while I was on my mission and the opportunity to meet a great couple of Doctors. They gave me good news as to what the issue isn't! :)
May 2016 - moving to Utah following the Spirit that had grown stronger and stronger. Gaining the support of some new friends in the Parker family. Experiencing for some time the kindness of strangers. Having the time to experience the true joys and beauties of the mountains, temples and Sunday Music & the Spoken Word. Meeting new friends of friends.
June 2016 - moving everyday in faith to find a job. Interviewing, talking to people, exploring options. I am grateful for this month of searching because it made me keep pushing and learning more about God's timing and my plans. Meeting and making connections in a friends family that put me on to a job lead. Witnessing a wonderful friend's wedding.
July 2016 - that job lead turned in to a job offer and now the one I am in! It's tiring but I *love* it. This miracle came after about 14 interviews and over 120 applications sent out - being required to hold on for some time and then the Lord rewarded that effort. He is so good.
August 2016 - temple blessings and group. :) God led me to both. Starting jiu-jitsu which brought me into another community of support which at this time I am too shy to use. But they are amazing men and women I feel blessed to know. 
September 2016 - meeting some of the most brave and courageous kids I think I will ever know. This blessing comes back to me over and over. Being really vulnerable for the first time in years. Making positive connections with people at work.
October 2016 - being able to go to the Doctor and get insurance :) General Conference. Meeting some more brave kids! Spontaneous trip to Rexburg to see Brother Whoolery - one of the most influential people in my life. Being invited into another family's Holiday.
November 2016 - getting to see my whole family together for the first time in 7 years. Being invited into another family's Holiday. Beginning to see a therapist.
December 2016 - getting to work through the Holiday. Yes, I complained. Yes, I didn't see it as the blessing I now do. I got to deepen connections with friends. I was able to reflect on the impact of my actions this past year. I was able to see the joy and surprise in kids' eyes Christmas morning as they opened gifts they didn't expect to receive and see the sincerest gratitude as one mentioned she thought Santa wouldn't find her. Being invited into another family's Holiday - for three days straight (that's a lot of me...). Getting the flu. Yep - because it has brought me a lot of clarity.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016

2016 has been a year unlike any I have had.

It has been about five months since I last shared anything. I've taken some growing time to get into the flow of work, discovering new hobbies, meeting people...the whole experience of being new somewhere. In just the past seven months there have been so many experiences that have brought great joys, opportunities for gratitude and vulnerability. There have been times of great stress and sadness. However sitting here I am grateful for all of it. I am still struggling with some confusion and stress but I know it will help me grow. I am grateful for the new connections. I am grateful for the work and the brave kids I get to meet. I am grateful that I get to wake up and make choices each and every day.

I hope moving into 2017 I can remain on the side of my Father in Heaven.  I hope that things will continue to steadily move in the direction they are at this time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"promise me you're ours forever"

I've been home from my mission for 5 months this coming Sunday. And it has been hard. I have had extremely joyful times. I've felt love so deeply. I still have felt my Father in Heaven and my Savior. But they have felt different to me. I have felt cut off, left to learn on my own without companions or friends that come in the same way. When I am with others that logically I know love me or care for me, the adversary is right there telling me all the reasons they don't. That I am a charity case. That...insert emotions here and circumstance and I know you have felt this too. (yes i know none of this is entirely true. but in acknowledging feelings; it has felt real to me. it is getting better and less present.)

When I started this blog I wanted to be regular in writing. When I got home I wanted to pick everything up where I left off. But throughout the last five months as I have struggled, gone through surgery, moving my parents and then myself, a job search and looking for a home (and another move) and feeling generally lost. all the time. I have realized that I am different. I am not the Katie I was 23 months ago. And it impacts the deepest parts of my soul to see and begin to accept that. And start to figure out what I am doing with that. But that's okay.

On some level I don't have the tolerances that I used to. I haven't found the energy in my heart to jump fully into the academic world I once was so deeply involved in. I can't seem to talk as much to anyone. I go days, weeks and months without talking to people I have been through so much with because...I don't know why other than I don't feel the same. and I'm trying to reconcile myself and bring 23 months ago Katie to this moment. To the vision of myself that the Lord gave me while I was choosing to serve Him.

Its an interesting thing, coming home. You make plans and the family is in on it, ready to support. And then the plans that are actually there; the ones that are meant for your ultimate growth and learning are nothing like the plans you have.

Miracles come into your life. In the midst of going through the moments, people show up. Understanding the utter confusion and treading water feeling. And they understand that most days you are just getting by. Doing the motions while the faith grows.

I feel a big purpose of this is to thank those who let me stare. Who let me come and sit with them in silence while they live their life and I try and see what is next. To thank those who haven't heard from me in forever but trust that I still love them. To say sorry and I'm working on coming to myself, this version of me. To say that what makes it easier is the faith the God has a plan and trusting His plan is way easier than forcing mine. To thank God for the job that I now have and the home I get to be a part of. To thank God for still being there.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

do we wait or live life and find them along the way?

I was having a very open and raw conversation with someone dear to my heart today. And during our conversation the topic of marriage came up. Where was I in dating, the need for faith in relationships...it's good, it makes so much sense and I truly appreciate their words. One thing that has stuck with me, though not the point of the conversation, was them mentioning emerging and young adults putting off relationships to pursue education and career.

I would be the first to tell you I don't regret on single second of pursuing my Masters Degree. In all actuality I am seriously looking into pursuing a PhD in a few years. There are a few things I have learned as a 27 year old woman, especially in the LDS faith. Most people in the culture of the church expect you to be married by 22. Anything much beyond that, your priorities must be off, skewed or misplaced. I've been questioned as to what's wrong with me. Why am I not busy having babies. Who did I reject and what opportunities did I turn down with good men to advance myself to where I am. Why do I seek to be a strong woman instead of being submissive to every whim of a man. I've definitely heard much more than this, spent nights in tears. But I would not trade what I have gained from the experiences of education and living so far from family.

At this point in my life, especially after serving a full time mission, there is a strong part of me that would love to be married. To spend 18 months teaching about Jesus Christ, eternal families and blessing of lasting ordinances; it sure comes to mind that yeah it'd be nice to have. But I can't wait for it. If I sat still waiting for the one person to come along...nothing would happen. I would be a version of me that I don't like. I would stop progressing. I wouldn't be true to myself. I've met plenty of people who have sat and waited. Some have met their spouse that way. Some are still sitting. Life is different for every single person. For me life tends to happen while I am living it.

We are meant to grow, develop, change and progress. So while these questions come of what I'm doing with my love life. I'm serving, loving with my heart wide open, getting to know new people, beginning to volunteer, working on building a business, starting a job next week, spending time with good friends when schedules allow, connecting with the universe on a deeper level and starting to work on life long dreams.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

not this

I saw one of those pictures on Facebook last night that has a dark background and then just the words "Not This" were in the middle of it. As I read through the description the writer, Elizabeth Gilbert, went on to describe moments in our life where we may wake up and find ourselves saying "not this." It could be in a struggling relationship, friendship, job or personally where you wake up and just see something you never expected or wanted happening in your life. Your path going in a completely different path than you anticipated before. And you just need to get out of it or you will be stuck there living the same moments and same regrets over and over.

In some ways through my life I have definitely had those moments. Whether it was with addiction, toxic relationships, being stagnant or having weight problems. I found myself pleading not now, not again, not this?! Why. The best things that have ever happened when I have found myself in those places is leaving. It is scary. There is so much anxiety with it. But I have had 3 big moves on my own when I have been able to leave the situation and build more on the positive within me. Create who I want to be. And instead of dreading the not this it becomes a chance to say what next?

In the end she said that though we may not know what's wrong with the now. We do know it is not this and the bravest words we can say are WHAT Comes next?

So while I am in the midst of a consistent stream of what next moments. I know you are too. That is the most beautiful and most terrifying part of this life. Leave the past behind and move. Find the next part. Be open to whatever it may be. Allow yourself moments of grief and weakness. Be vulnerable. And in those times, the strength will come.

Monday, April 18, 2016

love overcomes

there are a million things that go through our heads daily...at least my head. since i have been home it has dealt with mission things. discipleship. parents. family. communication. authenticity. vulnerability. friends. love. hearing. listening. client. imperfect. connecting. meaningful life. sickness. addiction. mind. health. job. will this work. can i do it. coach. support. validation. meeting needs. compassion. needing others. being needed. moving. timing. stuck. God's will. better plans. and oh so much more.

as just a general health and addiction update: things are good. there was honestly a week where the food issues went a little berzerk a few days and the thoughts came. weak. not good enough. failure. fat. unworthy. unloved. and my mind picked at every part of my body the next few days. we all do it. my hair is too flat. my thighs are too large. my arms are too big. my chest is too small. my stomach is too flabby. i'm not beautiful enough. and on...

then i decided to reclaim myself...again. accepting each pound. wrinkle. ache. knowing they were placed there by years of decisions. and then i looked at myself again. and i saw arms that get to hug people i love. wrinkles and lines that came for laughter and smiling. legs that can run and walk and play. a mouth that can speak words of love. and a whole body that has won and overcome so much and is meant for a continually wonderful life.

its so hard to push through the negative thoughts when they come. to look back at yourself in the mirror and saw that was a choice. i am the sum of my choices. but my next one can positively impact the rest of my days. mine was going to serve another person. getting out. seeing how much i could actually do with this magnificent body in positive, productive ways.

as for the pornography addiction: 3 years 5 months clear. triggers are less and less every week. true love, the most powerful pure love overcomes all. the love from God helped me.

the negative thoughts have been at bay the past few days because i began to accept again that my Savior loves me. that God loves me. and their love is all that matters because i am the daughter of a King. it helps when the rest gets too much. and what helps more is to let others know how much they are loved.